SunTrust vs. Bank of America Online Bill Pay Question

I’ve narrowed our choice of new banks after the move down to SunTrust and Bank of America, but now I need your help. One of the critical features that I’m looking for has to do with automating our online bill payments. Ever since we signed up with our currrent bank (US Bank), we’ve been able to have their bill pay service fetch our credit card bills and pay them automatically. BUT… The auto-payments could only be for the minimum amount due. If I wanted to pay in full (which I always do), I had to manually go in and schedule the payment. Not a huge deal, but it’s been somewhat inconvenient.

As it turns out, US Bank has just upgraded their online bill pay service such that you can now choose to have it automatically pay the minimum amount due or the full outstanding balance, but we’re moving and they don’t have any local branches on the other end. So here’s my question to all of you SunTrust and/or Bank of America account holders out there…

When you login in and go to set up an automatic online bill payment, do they give you the option of setting it up to pay the bill in full every month as opposed to having it just make the minimum monthly payment? I know that some (most?) banks do allow for this, but this is a real deal breaker for me and I don’t want to be disappointed. If one bank can do it and the other can’t, then our decision has been made. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to tell based on their online banking demos, and to be honest I trust y’all more than I trust a random customer service rep.

On the off chance that both banks can do what I want, I’d also like to hear general opinions on these banks (especially about what you don’t like about them) from current or past customers.

For more information on moving, check out my Roadmap for a Successful Relocation.

25 Responses to “SunTrust vs. Bank of America Online Bill Pay Question”

  1. Anonymous

    Suntrust is wearing me out! They double debited my account for my mortgage and it has now taken a month and 14 hours of phone time and I still haven’t gotten the money back. It’s supposedly floating around in electronic-land somewhere. NEVER use their “trusted” online bill-pay option. Even if they’re wrong, it will take forever to get your money back.

  2. Anonymous

    Submitted prematurely previously…

    Since 1996, I have had BOFA and recently I opened other banking relationships with 2 other local banks.

    I really enjoyed the online bill pay, transfers, my portfolio etc but boy when you call their customer service, they turned out to be “devils’ minions”. Issues started taking 10-15 calls to get a result. And then they bought Countrywide who owned my mortgage and then the marriage became so rocky because they would not want to modify my mortgage. For 6 months, I was calling and talking to Customer service to no avail. Excuses, excuses, excuses were all I got about modifying my former CW mortgage. So I gave up and decided to divorce BOFA. I am in the process of changing direct deposits to my other local banks. The minute I am able I will also kill that CW mortgage relationship by refinancing with another bank.

  3. Anonymous

    Since 1996, I have had BOFA and recently I opened other banking relationships with 2 other local banks.

    I really enjoyed the online bill pay, transfers, my portfolio etc but boy when you call their customer service, they turned out to be “devils’ minions”. Issues started taking 10-15 calls to get a result. And then they bought Countrywide who owned my mortgage and then the mariage became so rocky because they would not want to modify my mortgage. For 6 months, I was calling and talking to Customer service to no avail. Excuses, excuses, excuses to not modify my former CW mortgage. So I gave up and decided to divorse BOFA. I am in the process of changing direct deposits to my othe rlocal banks. The minute I am able I will also kill that CW mortgage relationship by refinanceing with another bank.

  4. Anonymous

    Just to comment on BOA, I think it is the best bank ever. I have been with them since 04/08 and any problems I have ever had, was resolved in that one phone. For example, I have a auto finance loan with HSBC Auto Finance (before HSBC shut that part of their business down…but they suck anyway). Anywho, if I made an online payment to them for them to receive it on say the 28, HSBC would get it early on the 26th (they only accepted mailed checks (paper drafts), no EFT…grrrr) and overdraw my account before my direct deposit hit. Since it wasn’t my fault and I had used the online bill pay, I called CS and had the $35 fee waived. I have never (with BOA) overdrawn/bounced checks, and I used to be a financial mess. But BOA makes it so easy, even a caveman can do it…LOL.

    To conclude, BOA rocks.

  5. Anonymous

    We have several BOA branches here in town and I have had an opportunity to visit them all at one time or another. One branch is populated with the devil’s minions and another with the best customer support you could ever ask for. You don’t need to guess which branch i use (even though it is across town and there is a closer one just a few blocks away).

    Hint: don’t use online CS if you are experiencing trouble. I have had great experiences with real people… there is something about the telephone that invites incompetence and rudeness.

  6. Anonymous

    I have Suntrust right now. For some reason I don’t like them. I like Bank of America. They have Cool Online Feathures and 2 of my Friends have them and they have always helped them with problems so I signed up for them and I will see how it is

  7. Anonymous

    We had B of A for over 10 years before I finally gave up and switched to WaMU and USAA. Their services are great, but their customer service could not be any worse if they used pissed off untrained monkeys. They screw things up constantly, and I have never fixed anything with less than 5 phone calls. It usually took 10 to 12, and occasionally a complaint to the BBB. I finally had to change banks or go postal and/or have a heart attack. Unless you never need customer service for anything, it’s best to pick another bank. Also, I opened my account in SC and then moved to CA. For 12 years they told me the systems would be integrated “any day now” and they are still not integrated. I know, putting up with someone lying to you for 12 years is more a marriage than a banking relationship, and I was very glad to leave lying, cheating, irate monkey run B of A for a bank that understood what personal service means. On a 1 to 10 rating, they are a -273.

  8. Anonymous

    To get back to the original question, I have BoA and their online Bill Pay is good with one exception, THEY CAN’T PAY YOUR FULL CREDIT CARD BALANCE AUTOMATICALLY!

    This pisses me off to no end, because I have to go in each month to tell it how much to pay my credit cards, otherwise it will only pay the Minimum Amount Due. Any other type of bill can be set up to pay whatever the full amount is each month, but credit cards will only pay the minimum amount due. The option you check when setting up the e-bill payment is called “Always pay the amount due as indicated on the e-Bill”, but for credit cards that is the minimum. They have a little pop-up window that tells you that caveat.

  9. Anonymous

    Hi, I recently switched from Suntrust to BofA.

    I used to use Suntrust online bill pay and it worked pretty good. The funds would be taken out once the creditor cashed the check. I never knew when the creditor would receive the check. I had a problem with Suntrust holding a local check from my wife in the amount of $300 and it made my account bounce 14 times, even though I had overdraft protection through my savings they later said I never had. Since then, I complained to the BBB and subsequently opened an account at Bofa. I have had great C.S. at BofA in th2 2 months of account opening. Even had my wife switch her account from wachovia since she was also pleased. The Bofa online bill-pay does not automatically subtract the amount paid when you decide to pay a bill, just like Suntrust. BofA lets you designate overdraft protection through multiple ways. I even like their “transfer money” option to another BofA account holder at any time. The only thing I don’t like is that they charge your $3 to electronically transfer funds from your BofA account to another account you hold in your name (online?).

  10. Anonymous

    I just switched away from BofA. I had an account there since I was a teenager and have never had any problems except for the online banking – all in the last year. I had a problem with my sweep account not sweeping into my operational account (causing my funds to be entirely tied up for a full week) – and twice the ebill service sent me a paper check rather than sending the electronic payment to my mortgage company. It wasn’t just the mistakes, it was the horrific customer service. They have a ton of layers of customer service and each of the first two issues took me than a dozen customer service reps (& more than a week) to finally find one that actually could fix the situation. BofA’s ebill service is easily the best around I’ve seen, but god help you if you need any customer service.

  11. Anonymous

    Hello:

    I am shopping to replace BoA since they have fradulatently charged visitors. (See Clark Howard’s WSB Radio show.)

    I suspect you have already made a decision but if you have not, you might give SunTrust a second look.

    Mark

  12. Anonymous

    Waste no time in using Suntrust for ANYTHING. They will happily send your funds to fraudulent accounts in the Ukraine and Romania with no questions asked, then give you a hard time when you tell them you didn’t authorize the transfer.

  13. Anonymous

    There is a new “feature” that BOA added recently that I really really don’t like- they don’t remove the funds from your account until they are cleared by the payee. This is really annoying because you have no idea when the money is suddenly going to dissapear, and if you are dealing with smaller businesses or banks some can take a really long time to process their payments. I recently scheduled a credit card payment about a week before it was due but the money didn’t leave my account until the day after it was due. (The money was paid on time, its just that it wasn’t fully processed by my card company until the day after. So even when I thought I could predict when the money would be taken out (the due date) I couldn’t.

  14. Anonymous

    I live in washington state where our Washington/Idaho BofA Branches are running on what is refered to as the “Legacy SeaFirst” System. WA/ID Banks are completely disconnected from branches in California & The Rest of the country (Which operate on whats called the “ModelBank” System.) I have been pestering the bank to give me services that it offers all other customers in states other than WA/ID, including “e-Bills.” Last time I checked, I was told that the bank has the goal of bringing the ‘Keep the change” program to washington, but not the rest of the ModelBank online banking platform, including e-bills. And they allways give me crappy responces! When Bank of America merged SeaFirst into bank of america in 1999 they got lazy and did’nt combine the computer systems because it would be a large expense. Now it is really starting to cause problems. Have any other WA/ID BofA customers noticed how primative our online banking is??? Is there any other bank that doesnt let customers view their “pending” (un posted transactions?? I would not advice anybody to open an account witht BofA in WA/ID. Does washington have SunTrust??

  15. Anonymous

    Yeah, as I said two days ago, you can do that, but I can’t, because I live in Seattle and Bank of America doesn’t do that here…

  16. Anonymous

    “Are you saying that US Bank somehow knows how to log onto other banks’ Web sites and get your bills? That seems a little scary… think of the security issues! In any case, I know for a fact that Bank of America does not offer any such thing. ”
    I use BofA to get my Chase CC balance and pay it.

  17. Anonymous

    I discovered after I posted my message that Bank of America does offer bill fetching — just not where I live. Washington and Idaho BofAs are on a different system than the rest of the country.

    That does sound kind of handy; I’ll have to see if HSBC offers it (they just gave me $50 to open a checking account there).

  18. Nickel

    Okay, yesterday afternoon I stopped by both SunTrust and BofA. As it turns out, SunTrust can’t do what I need, but BofA can (yes, Jerry, BofA can fetch your bills from any biller that offers eBills — pretty much any bank’s online bill pay can do this). Thanks to all for your replies. Looks like we’ll be going with BofA.

  19. Anonymous

    I also use BofA. I’ve never used the ‘account balance’ feature but use it to pay all my other bill on a schedule.
    There is also another feature, similar to what used to be on Yahoo’s My Finance, called My Portfolio.
    This feature lets me link in all of my mfund accounts, etrade,credit cards, loans and frequent traveler programs in one place.

  20. Anonymous

    I use BoA Billpay to pay all of my bills. One good thing to note is that they recently changed it so that the money is withdrawn from your account when the recipient gets the money, not a couple days before, i.e. if your Visa bill is due on the 15th, money will be withdrawn on the 15th, not the 13th to allow for processing time.

  21. Anonymous

    I have Bank of America and while they allow you to schedule bill payments, I have no idea how you’d expect them to know what the balance (or for that matter, the minimum payment) is on an account at another bank that’s not them, and sure enough, they don’t. Are you saying that US Bank somehow knows how to log onto other banks’ Web sites and get your bills? That seems a little scary… think of the security issues! In any case, I know for a fact that Bank of America does not offer any such thing.

  22. Anonymous

    Bank of America allows you to pay the balance in full, I believe.

    The nice thing about BofA is that they process more than half of the EFTs in the US, so you’re going to be with the clear market leader. You can not only get your credit card statements automatically, but most other bills as well: phone, gas, electricity, cell phone, etc.

  23. Anonymous

    The tutorial on automatic bill payment at Bank of America includes ‘account balance’ as one of the options for automatic payment (along with minimum amount due, amount due, and a constant amount). So unless there’s a serious discrepancy between the demo and the real thing, you should be fine. (I use their online bill-pay, but schedule everything manually.) I’ve been reasonably happy with BoA, although I don’t tend to use a lot of banking services.

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